When they told me I’d be predicting the future, I pictured something a little more glamorous than being stuck in a remote observatory with the most annoyingly boisterous Apprentice Magician to ever walk the Earth. Her name was Bridget (rhymes with fidget) Gaines and she’d been talking since we arrived for our shift on skywatch. I tuned her out after the first hour by focusing every scrap of my attention on the many overlapping circles of stars on the floor. Stars I was responsible for reading and circles she was responsible for maintaining. If only cameras and satellites didn’t interfere with a stargazer’s abilities, I could be doing this shift alone. Polaris, Leo, Mars, Capricorn — How is she still talking? I swear she should’ve passed out by now.
“Yo, Stern. STERN MORON!”
“Whatever. Have you heard a word I’ve said the past four hours?”
She crossed her arms with a huff. “They could’ve at least paired me with someone who could hold a conversation. This has to be the most tedious use of magic ever invented.”
“You could be unclogging toilets.”
“Ew. Who’d waste magic on that?”
“I’m so bored!” She groaned dramatically and flopped against the emergency beacon: a perfectly cylindrical stone pillar with a magic circle carved into the side and a layer of dust on top.
“That’s no reason to-” A streak of light from the region of Draco caught my attention. “Did you see that?”
“I appreciate the effort, but this is still-”
“No, really, back it up a few seconds.”
She rolled her eyes, but surprisingly did as I asked. As the night sky replayed the last moments, I got a better look at what I’d seen. A meteor, streaking across the sky passing from Draco and barrelling towards Gemini, but it fizzled out just past Triangulum. Draco, the Dragon. Gemini, the twins. And Triangulum… “Activate the beacon.”
“We’re about to be attacked.”
“You sure? Cause if you’re wrong it’s my-”
The circles on the floor faded as she ended the spell and reached towards the carved circle only to be knocked back as something massive hit our observatory. Stone cracked and metal shrieked as the roof peeled back and we stared up into the great golden maw of the Dragon Lord.
Ms. Gaines squeaked somewhere off to my left as the dragon’s hot breath scalded our skin. He pulled back to a distance where his breath was only uncomfortably warm. “YE NEGEREH LO NI’ETRA KAHM TELMORE. LO ETRA DHAMEL KE LA OHN.”
“What?” At least that’s what I meant to say. Apparently I too was only capable of squeaking.
“KEADRA. LON KEADRA MAHIR QE RHOS. DHAMEL TEN YIT NI’VALIIR TSAL. MEL-” A blast of magic and light shot straight into the sky as Bridget scrambled past the beacon for the door. “KHEN NAT TEM!” The dragon reared back and breathed a stream of flame, shattering the beacon and dispelling the signal. The metal of the tower spattered around me in glowing drips as I followed my coworker’s lead, roaring flames close behind. She stood at the end of the hall, frozen in fear against the bank of windows. The stairs on the left or the door on the right, which would lead to safety? There was no time for either as the fire caught up, engulfing me in flames. I barreled into her and we both went sailing through the glass into the cold waters of the lake below.
Yes, I’m making up an alien language, and yes you will find out what it means.